Tell us about your background and career?
I grew up in a hardworking, first generation Italian Immigrant
family in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I completed my undergraduate
degree while attending university on a full athletic scholarship.
After completing my undergraduate program I was accepted into
law school, but for a number of reasons, made the determination
to get right into business.
At the age of 24, I started what would later be known as the
First Avenue Group which was a company that consolidated food,
cafeteria and vending services where we also bought, packaged and
distributed coffee from a roasting house we built from the ground up.
I started the company with just my Visa card and one
employee, and within 7 years, I grew the company to over 250
staff with 3 offices across Canada. At the age of 32, I sold the
majority of my business to one of the largest food companies in
the world. I refer to this time in my life as my “Practical PHD
in business.” While running this business, I also completed my
Master’s Degree on the campus of MIT.
Along the way, I placed a significant portion of my earnings
into all aspects of real estate investment and development from
converting apartments to condos, to building a Mortgage Investment
Corp., to getting directly involved in resort developments.
The knowledge and experience I gained in my various
endeavours garnered the attention of some private and publicly
held companies who engaged me to sit on their advisory boards
and boards of directors. Some of these companies include a
privately held corporation that holds the largest water license in
Western Canada, and an SME and the third largest modular home
building company in Western Canada.
What is your company’s focus in the private market?
Arlington Street Investments is a Real Estate Investment and
Development company with a very specific niche focus on building
urban, mixed-use “live, work, play” developments.
We are a fully integrated real estate company in that we buy
all of our properties off market, and then create and execute on
the entire development program from land use to fully turn-keyed
tenant fixturing. Vertical integration affords us a great deal of
flexibility, efficiencies and cost controls.
Our capital is raised through our growing list of accredited
and ultra-high net worth investors, family office and institutional
investment houses that have perpetually invested for over a
decade. One interesting statistic is that over 85% of our investor
base has invested into multiple ASI projects (i.e. 3 or more). One of
the unique aspects of our business is that we are not just focused
on the return on capital, but our primary focus is the return of
capital. Almost 100% of the monies repatriated back to our
investors on liquidity and/or exit events are re-invested by those
investors into other ASI developments.
In your opinion, what are the major challenges and
opportunities in the private capital markets?
I think the challenges within the EMD space are also our
opportunities. I believe that there are 3 key challenges:
1. The EMD space can be looked at in the same way you would
look at any start-up company in the sense that it is less than
5 years old, the competitors within the space are fighting for
resources (agents and capital) and because of this; there is
very little collaboration in the sharing of best practices.
President and CEO
Arlington Street Investments
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.arlingtonstreet.ca